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The disturbing timeline of Jesse Matthew’s sexual violence and murders

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The  timeline of sexual violence committed by convicted killer Jesse Matthew Jr. is dark and disturbing. He admitted he abducted both Morgan Harrington and Hannah Graham with the intent to defile them, and then murdered the young women; Harrington was 20 and Graham was 18 when their lives ended.

Matthew, according to sources close to the deal, actually admitted to the murder of the two Virginia college students back in 2014, hoping to get a plea deal of 25 years in prison.

The chilling details released after his March 2, 2016 court appearance indicate how he brutally handled both victims; he snapped their bones and then discarded their bodies. Earlier in the night that Graham was murdered, several women told police they were the objects of Matthew's intense, sexual advances.

For parents of his victims, the admission of guilt was a mile marker on the long road of grieving; part of the healing process to begin moving forward.

For the town of Charlottesville, his admission of guilt helped chip away at the unsolved cases of women who had disappeared around the same time of year – the fall - that both Graham and Harrington were murdered. Many have long speculated there was a serial killer in the area, responsible for multiple deaths and disappearances of women.

Law enforcement and the FBI did look into the possibility that Matthew’s involvement was connected to other young women who vanished over the last five years, a law enforcement source told CBS News.

On March 2, Matthew’s attorney Doug Ramseur told reporters that it would be “ridiculous” to think Matthew was connected to any other cases.

"I have no information on that, no reason to believe that is the case, and it would be ridiculous to believe so,” Ramseur said.

Matthew was sexually abused as a child, an ex-girlfriend previously said, and his records showed a pattern of sexual violence and predatory behavior toward women.

Below is a timeline of events that includes Matthew’s record, his crimes, and the dates other women disappeared – that were investigated or occurred relevant to the timeline.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was on the football team at Liberty University

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was on the football team at Liberty University

October 17, 2002: Jesse Matthew named a suspect in an alleged rape at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Matthew was at Liberty from 2000-2002. He left the college, where he played football, immediately afterward.

January 2003: Matthew begins classes at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News.

Autumn DayJuly 2003: Autumn Wind Day was last seen in Newport News on July 24, 2003. She was 24 years old when she disappeared. She was 5’5” and weighed 180 pounds. Her disappearance remains unsolved

August 2003: Matthew joins the CNU football team but leaves the team just one month later, in September 2003, amid another sexual assault investigation. The victim has not been identified.

Sophie Rivera

Sophie Rivera

September 2003: Sophie May Rivera last seen in Newport News on Sept. 7, 2003. She was 31-years-old when she disappeared. She was 5’4” and weighed 105 lbs. Her disappearance remains unsolved

October 2003: Matthew leaves CNU altogether a month after the sexual assault investigation.

September 2005:  A 26-year-old woman is attacked and raped while walking home from a grocery store in Fairfax City. DNA captured at this crime scene helps police establish a profile.

FBI sketch

FBI sketch

Cassandra Morton

Cassandra Morton

2007:  Matthew gets a DMV permit to operate a taxi cab in the Charlottesville area.

October 10, 2009 – Cassandra Morton, age 23, disappeared from a Lynchburg neighborhood.

October 17, 2009:  - Morgan Harrington vanishes shortly after leaving a Metallica concert at UVA's John Paul Jones Arena.

Virginia Tech junior Morgan Harrington, 20, disappeared Saturday night, October 17, 2009, during a Metallica concert.

Virginia Tech junior Morgan Harrington, 20, disappeared Saturday night, October 17, 2009, during a Metallica concert.

November 30 ,2009: Cassandra Morton’s body was found on Candlers Mountain in Lynchburg, near Camp Hydaway, a retreat owned by Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

January 27, 2010 - Harrington's remains are found on a remote part of the Anchorage Farm in Albemarle County, a place where police said someone would have to know the area to have found the spot.  Matthew's taxi permit expires later that year in 2010.

New evidence released March 2, 2016, stated that Jesse Matthews cell phone pinged near the farm where Morgan Harringtons remains where found.

New evidence released March 2, 2016, stated that Jesse Matthews cell phone pinged near the farm where Morgan Harringtons remains were found.

July 2010:  DNA links 2005 Fairfax assault to Morgan Harrington's slaying, but no one knows Jesse Matthew is responsible for both crimes. Friends would later say that they joked around with Matthew that he looked like the person in the composite sketch.

Jesse Matthew Jr.

Jesse Matthew Jr.: The composite sketch, Jesse as a cab driver and Jesse in 2015.

September 13, 2010: Samantha Ann Clarke vanished after leaving her Orange County house. She was 19-year-old. The person who last talked to her was Randy Taylor, Orange County Police Chief James Fenwick told 48 Hours' Crimesider.  Taylor was later convicted for the murder of another teen that disappeared. Her disappearance remains unsolved.

November 20, 2012: 19-year-old DaShad Laquinn Smith disappeared. DaShad was a young man who dressed as a woman and identified as gay. DaShad was last seen walking along West Main Street near the Amtrak station.

Alexis Murphy was last seen at a gas station, and numerous people speculated that a car seen in the surveillance footage looked like Matthew's car. The man in the right corner, Randy Taylor, was convicted for the murder of Alexis.

Alexis Murphy was last seen at a gas station, and numerous people speculated that a car seen in the surveillance footage looked like Matthew's car. The man in the right corner, Randy Taylor, was convicted for the murder of Alexis.

August 3, 2013: Alexis Murphy, 17, was last seen at a gas station in Lovingston, Va. and her car was found in Charlottesville, about 35 miles away. A man named Randy Taylor was later convicted of her murder, though her body has never been found.

September 12, 2014: Jesse Matthew helps coach a football game at Covenant school and then begins drinking at the Lazy Parrot. According to court documents, he traveled from bar to bar downtown and had several reported run-ins with women in which his sexual advances crossed the line.

Taken the night that Hannah was last seen alive by her friends. The top she had on was recovered near her remains.

Taken the night that Hannah was last seen alive by her friends. The top she had on was recovered near her remains.

September 13, 2014:  Hannah Graham crosses Jesse Matthew’s path. She was last seen alive by her friends at a late night party, where she became intoxicated.

  • 11:50 p.m. Friday — Graham last seen by friends at Camden Plaza Apartments, in the 200 block of 14th Street NW.
  • 12:45 a.m. Saturday — Graham seen on surveillance video outside of McGrady’s Pub on Grady Street
Jesse walks up behind Hannah

Jesse walks up behind Hannah

  • 12:55 a.m. Saturday — Graham seen on Shell station surveillance video on Preston Ave.
  • 1 a.m. Saturday — Graham seen on Downtown Mall
  • 1:06 a.m. Saturday — Video captures Graham in front of Sal’s, continuing to walk east along the mall. Matthew is walking the other direction and he turns around to walk behind her.
  • 1:08 a.m. Saturday — Graham seen in front of Tuel Jewelers.
Click here for all surveillance video released by officers in this case.

Click here for all surveillance video released by officers in this case.

  • 1:10 a.m. Saturday – Matthew buys Graham a drink at a bar.
  • 1:20 a.m. Saturday — Graham sends a text to friends saying she was lost in the area around 14th and Wertland Streets. The last known witness to see Graham alive reported that Graham told Matthew “I’m not getting into the car with you.”

September 19, 2014: Law enforcement searches Jesse Matthew’s apartment. They recovered a cell phone that had been in service until Sept. 13, with its SIM card removed. A swab found Hannah’s DNA on the passenger side door.  A pair of shorts were found with Matthew’s and Hannah’s DNA on them. Matthew gets a new driver’s license and withdraws almost all of his money from the bank.

Jesse Matthew apartment search (Sept. 19, 2014)

Jesse Matthew apartment search (Sept. 19, 2014)

September 20, 2014: Matthew goes into police headquarters and asks to speak with a lawyer. He hires Jim Camblos and then leaves the police station at high speed. He is named a person of interest the next day. The chief said “we want to talk to him.”

September 23, 2014: Matthew is officially named a suspect in Graham`s disappearance, accused of abduction with the intent to defile.

September 24, 2014: Matthew is arrested near Galveston, Texas, where he was camped on Gilchrist beach.

 

Jesse Matthew seen on surveillance camera in Galveston. PHOTO: KTRK via CNN.

Jesse Matthew seen on surveillance camera in Galveston. PHOTO: KTRK via CNN.

September 29, 2014: CBS 6 reporter Laura French is the first to report that forensic evidence linked Matthew to Graham and Harrington murders.

October 2014: Matthew’s defense lawyer submits a plea deal for 25 years in prison in exchange for admitting to the Harrington and Graham murders and he would tell police where the body was hidden.The Graham and Harrington families met in Roanoke to discuss the plea deal.  It was never accepted.

The human remains along an abandoned property off of Old Lynchburg Road in southern Albemarle County.

The human remains along an abandoned property off of Old Lynchburg Road in southern Albemarle County.

October 18, 2014: Graham’s remains were found at an abandoned property off of Old Lynchburg Road in southern Albemarle County, less than five miles from where Harrington’s remains were found.

October 20, 2014: Matthew is indicted for the 2005 attack on a Fairfax woman.

SOURCE: Bill Hennessy

SOURCE: Bill Hennessy

February 10, 2015: Matthew is charged with Graham’s murder; later in May prosecutors announce they will seek the death penalty.

September 15, 2015: Matthew formally charged with Harrington’s murder.

Hannah Graham (left) and Morgan Harrington

Hannah Graham (left) and Morgan Harrington

October 2, 2015: Matthew gets three life sentences for 2005 rape and attempted murder. In a letter submitted ahead of sentencing, a former girlfriend of Matthew said he was raped when he was a child, and alleged Matthew was sexually assaulted by at least three people when he was young. She said his own rape likely played a role in the rapes and murders of multiple women for which he is currently accused.

February 2016: Lawyers and families of killer and victims begin discussing plea deal. CBS 6 first reports the news on Feb. 29.

Matthew leaves court after entering a plea deal, on March 2, 2016.

Matthew leaves court after entering a plea deal, on March 2, 2016.

March 2, 2016:  Matthew formally enters a plea confessing to the murders of Graham and Harrington. He is given a life sentence in exchange for accepting conditions such as there will be no chance for early release as a condition of the deal. Matthew will not be eligible for parole, and will relinquish any possibility of geriatric release. He will serve four separate life sentences.

The information that  would have been presented against Matthew in court is released. Those 14 pages of excruciating details can be read here. 

The Graham family spoke for the first time publicly. They said they knew Hannah would leave her mark on the world, they just didn't know her legacy would be to bring a serial killer to justice.

John Graham addresses the media after the plea deal is entered.

John Graham addresses the media after the plea deal is entered.

After the court resolution on March 2, Gil Harrington tied green ribbons on the Copeley Bridge where Morgan was last seen. She said the green symbolized “new growth” going forward and that she would never again visit the bridge. Pictures of Hannah and Morgan were placed on the bridge.

Gil Harrington said that this was the last time she would visit the bridge where her daughter was last seen.

Gil Harrington said that this was the last time she would visit the bridge where her daughter was last seen.

SUMMARY:

Incidents Jesse Matthew Jr.  has been connected to:

  • Oct. 17, 2002 – Alleged sexual assault at Liberty University
  • Sept. 7, 2003 – Reported CNU assault
  • Sept. 24, 2005 – Northern Virginia rape (forensic evidence linked to Morgan Harrington case)
  • Oct. 17, 2009 – Morgan Harrington disappearance
  • Sept. 13, 2014 – Hannah Graham disappearance

Cases investigated by law enforcement for possible connection to Matthew:

  • July 24, 2003 -- Autumn Day in Newport News
  • Sept. 7, 2003 – Sophia Rivera in Newport News
  • August 26, 2009 – Heidi Childs and David Metzler, in Blacksburg
  • Oct. 10, 2009 – Cassandra Morton, not far from Lynchburg
  • Sept. 13, 2010 – Samantha Clarke, in Orange County

Cases still unsolved in the area near Charlottesville

  • Jan. 24, 2010 – Joan Cook, Roanoke County
  • Nov. 21, 2011 -- Lauren Smith, Madison County
  • Nov. 20, 2012 -- Dashad Sage Smith, Charlottesville
  • August 3, 2013 – Alexis Murphy, Shipman (Randy Taylor jailed for this, body never found.)